Caps seek to extend streak to 3

December 13, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

QUEBEC -- The Washington Capitals have come to this picturesque, snow-covered city to find out if they can play three terrific games in a row by beating the Quebec Nordiques tonight.

The Capitals have knocked off the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-2, and the Montreal Canadiens, 5-3, on a three-game Eastern Conference road trip that concludes here.

They've done it with solid defense and a simple but surprisingly potent offense. And a big part of that offensive burst has been generated by second-year player Keith Jones, who has three goals in two games and nearly knocked in the game-winner Saturday on a breakaway against Montreal's Patrick Roy.

"I'm skating in there and I'm thinking the score is tied, this could win it, I could beat Patrick Roy -- all of it, consciously or subconsciously, is going through your mind," he said. "If I had scored that goal, I might have had to call someone at home. I

might have had to wake up my dad for that one."

But he shot too high, and it fell to Kevin Hatcher to score the game-winner on a power play several minutes later.

Jones said he isn't going to make a career on breakaways. The career, he says, will have to be built on hard work.

At the start of this season, he was handed a starting position but didn't get the job done well enough to suit coach Terry Murray.

Jones sat out a few games and when he did play he was dropped to the fourth line. He now says he is the perfect example of the guy who keeps working, gets his chance and makes it.

"If you sit and sulk, you're not going to be ready when the opportunity comes," said Jones, 25. "You have to swallow your pride, go to the fourth line and work that much harder to get back.

"And as a second-year player, you've got to learn not to press. At first, it's like everything is wrapped up in numbers. You want more goals and assists than last year, because you want to be better than last year. It's pressure that wasn't there as a rookie, because that was the first year.

"The main thing is to contribute -- play the body, make good little passes out of the zone, pick up your man and open space for others with a pick or by hanging onto the other guy a little longer."

When the Capitals, after recovering slightly from their 0-6 start, hit the skids again in mid-November, Murray looked around "for someone who was really going to do a job for me," he said.

He wanted what Jones had to offer.

"Someone who would go down deep in the front of the net," Murray said. "That's his style and he's responded well emotionally and is at a very good level. He's very excited."

A year ago, Jones became the first Caps rookie in seven years to play more than 70 games, getting 12 goals and 14 assists. After Saturday's game, he has six goals and six assists in 27 games.

He is back on the second line, playing with Dave Poulin and Alan May, and he is playing the way he did in his college days at Western Michigan.

"I scored goals in college, but the thing I did most there and here is work hard," Jones said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.